The Ronald McDonald Family Room Celebrates Five Years

If you walked through the automatic doors of Renown Health, you might be surprised by the cheerful colors and relaxing music that greet you. The clinical lighting and sanitizing smells many associate with the word “hospital” are nowhere to be found.

Just as Renown Health is no ordinary hospital in terms of care and comfort, the Ronald McDonald Family Room® is no ordinary “room” in a hospital. Featuring a fireplace, kitchenette with coffee, snacks and sodas and a comfortable seating area, the Ronald McDonald Family Room® offers families an escape from the stress of the hospital, without them needing to physically leave the property. And it turns five today!

“We intentionally built a space that was not in the main corridor so [families]  could come to a place that was close to the patient, but far enough away they could just recharge their batteries,” explained Vic Hopner, the human resources manager at Ronald McDonald House Charities® Northern Nevada(RMHC® Northern Nevada). Hopner has been involved with the Family Room since its launch in 2012 and has been integral in coordinating its volunteer staff, which keeps the room open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

Whether families are waiting for their children to come out of surgery or stabilize after an accident, or they are using the Family Room as overflow for a child’s large group of visitors, the room exists to help.  It gives them a place to rest, eat, and decompress, and also gives them a chance to privately consult with their child’s medical team if need be. Take a peek below at a KRNV Channel 4 story from the day the Ronald McDonald Family Room® opened five years ago.



“I like to say that magic happens in this room every day,” said Hopner. “It’s through very simple ways and it primarily happens as a result of that human connection.”

That human connection makes it easier for families of pediatric patients to release their concerns. Volunteers for the Room give more than just their time, they help disarm families by offering an ear to bend and a shoulder to lean on. Family Room volunteers are disconnected from the patient’s medical treatment but connected to the many emotions of the families. Considering that the Ronald McDonald Family Room® has hosted more than 19,176 visits since opening, our volunteers are critical to the program.

“Families have an opportunity to talk to somebody who is not directly involved in the medical care but who can empathize and can show support,” Hopner said.

On this very special anniversary, RMHC® Northern Nevada wishes to express our gratitude to every single volunteer who has taken a shift in the Ronald McDonald Family Room®. For five years, you have been the core of this special offering, giving families comfort during the most stressful times. To our wonderful donors, thank you so much for making services like the Ronald McDonald Family Room® available! Interested in volunteering your time? Email Christina Graham, Family Room and volunteer coordinator for RMHC® Northern Nevada.

Without you, none of this could happen. Here’s to another five years of helping families!

P.S. Did you hear it’s our 30th Anniversary Celebration Year? Learn more today.